Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Who is God? How do we know him?

This is the second set of questions from Adam Kaloostian's lessons on Reformed Faith.  He follows very closely Jason Lisle's apologetics in Answers in Genesis.  Lisle's usual proof is that people have moral codes.  How would they have moral codes if there was no ultimate standard for those codes?  There has to be a God who gives us commandments and follows those commandments.  No other God does that.  Allah murders and lies.  Zeus sleeps around.  Buddha's God doesn't even exist.  And to the Hindus, we're all going to be God someday, so there's really no basis for a moral code.  There is no reason for morality apart from belief in YHWH as he reveals himself in Scripture.

Moving right along, Adam's first question regards the "psychology of unbelief."  What does the Bible say about it?  Last week we pointed to theodicy as the main reason people avoid Christianity.  Theodicy, hypocrites, crazy people, despicable people, people killing in the name of Jesus, past bad experiences, lack of intellectuals; and some of these reasons I can agree with.
Ultimately, however, the Bible says that people avoid truth for one underlying reason: Romans 1:18-20.  The people suppress truth by wickedness.  They don't really care about theodicy or hypocrisy because, like we said, who cares about telling the truth, goodness and justice if we have no God to give us commandments?  These people don't want a God other than themselves, and they think their ideas are way better.  They want to sin, and that's their reason.  God through creation has made truth plain to them so they have no excuse for unbelief.  Finally, God gave them what every Arminian wants: free will, and they did everything they wanted until their hearts were so darkened that they could no longer do anything good.

Next, Adam notices that he just quoted the Bible to defend the Bible.  I can't remember if he solved that issue or not, but Jason Lisle does.  If there is no higher authority than God, and he gave us the Bible, then we have to resort to circular reasoning, using the Bible to prove the Bible.  If it is what 2 Timothy 3:16 and Romans 10:17 claim to be, then people will hear the words and either believe or not believe depending on if God has chosen them or not.  It's Scripture that awakens people to be able to accept Christ.  Nothing else.

2.   What do the Reformed Christians believe about the Bible?
The Bible is the written WOG.  (Word of God is too long sometimes.)  There, God is revealed objectively.  It's the WOG simply because he spoke it.  The church did not decide that canon, which was in place long before the Council of Nicaea.  It was determined because they could hear God's words spoken in the books. 

It is the only place to find objective truth.

3.  What is the central reason we can't compromise the marks of the church?  You know, the three marks that Calvin said describe a true church?  They are true preaching of the Word, right administering of the sacraments, and church discipline.
These are the three areas where God is obviously active in the lives of his people.  If we compromise on that, then we will miss out on the most interaction with God that we can have on this earth.  God is active in the preaching, the sacraments, and church discipline through Christ.  Christ really is present during communion and baptism, serving his blood to the people.  He is the WOG, just like the Bible, so he comes to you when the preacher preaches it.  And where two or more are gathered in his name, there Christ is in their midst.  That verse is about church discipline.  Not singing.  Not prayer.  Not Bible study.  Church discipline.

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